Sunday, April 15, 2007

[wvns] Scott Ritter: America's Submission to Israel

The Final Act of Submission
By Scott Ritter

04/14/07 In the months leading up to President Bush's ill-fated
invasion of Iraq, I traveled around the world speaking to various
international groups, including many parliamentary assemblies. I spoke
about democracy and the need of any nation or group of nations
espousing democracy as a standard to embrace the ideals and values of
justice and due process in accordance with the rule of law. I spoke of
international law, especially as it was manifested in the charter of
the United Nations (a document signed and adopted by all of the
countries I visited).

Invariably, my presentation focused on the nation in question, whether
it was Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Japan or Great Britain, and
the status of its relationship with the United States. As an American,
I said, I appreciated each nation's embrace of the United States as a
friend and ally. However, as a strong believer in the rule of law, I
deplored the trend among America's so-called friends to facilitate a
needless confrontation which would severely harm the U.S. in the long
run. These nations were hesitant to stand up to the United States even
though they knew the course of action planned for Iraq was wrong.

Such permissive submission was deplorable, and invariably led to a
comment from me about the status of genuine sovereignty in the face of
American imperial power. If a nation was incapable of defending its
sovereign values and interests, then it should simply acknowledge its
status as a colony of the United States, pull down its disgraced
national flag and raise the Stars and Stripes.

Now the tables have turned. Americans, through the will of the people
as expressed in the November 2006 election, voiced their
dissatisfaction with the conduct of the American war in Iraq, and
empowered a new Democratic-controlled Congress to reassert itself as a
separate but equal branch of government—especially when it came to
matters pertaining to war and the threat of war.

This new Democratic leadership has failed egregiously. Not only has
the speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, been unable to orchestrate any
meaningful legislation to bring the war in Iraq to an end, but in
mid-March she carelessly greased the tracks for a whole new conflict.
By excising language from a defense appropriations bill which would
have required President Bush to seek the approval of Congress prior to
initiating any military attack on Iran, Pelosi terminated any hope of
slowing down the Bush administration's mad rush to war.

Despite the fact that Congress was only stating through this language
a simple reflection of constitutional mandate, Speaker Pelosi and
others felt that the inclusion of such verbiage put the security of
the state of Israel at risk by eliminating important "policy options"
for the president of the United States. In short, Israeli national
security interests trumped the Constitution of the United States.

I consider myself to be a friend of Israel, a status which has been
demonstrated repeatedly through words and deeds from January-February
1991, when I was involved in the effort to stop Iraq Scud missiles
from striking Israel during the 1991 Gulf War, to the period between
October 1994 and June 1998 when I served as the lead liaison between
the United Nations weapons inspectors and Israeli intelligence,
working to find a final accounting of Iraq's proscribed weapons of
mass destruction. I know only too well the precarious reality of
Israel's security situation, and am sympathetic to its need to
proactively deal with threats before they manifest themselves in a
manner which threatens Israel's ability to survive as a nation-state.

However, as an American who served on active duty in time of war as an
officer of Marines, I also remember the oath I took to "uphold and
defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all
enemies, foreign and domestic." As such, I am troubled by the recent
actions of Speaker Pelosi and other members of Congress who have not
only abrogated their collective responsibility to uphold and defend
the Constitution but have taken actions which, under normal
circumstances and involving any other nation, would border on
treasonous. Our collective duty as Americans must center on defending
the very document, the Constitution, which defines who we are and what
we are as a people and a nation. To have our elected representatives
flagrantly push aside their constitutional responsibilities in the
name of the security interests of another nation is unthinkable. And
yet it has just happened, apparently without consequence.

Sadly, the new Democratic Congress has cemented its status as yet
another iteration of a system which long ago sold its soul to special
interests. Democrats can cackle about Republican scandals, including
the Jack Abramoff affair, which brought down Rep. Tom DeLay among
others. But history will show that the Pelosi-led sellout to Israeli
special interests endangered the viability and security of America as
a sovereign state governed by the rule of law more than Jack Abramoff
ever could.

In this time of constitutional crisis, the American people need to
wake up and demand that the basic tenets of the Constitution be
adhered to. Congress is solely empowered by the Constitution to
declare war. Demanding that the president of the United States adhere
to this prerequisite is a logical and patriotic stance. Allowing any
non-American interest, even one possessing such highly charged
political and emotional sensitivities as Israel, to dictate otherwise
represents nothing more than a capitulation of sovereignty. We the
people need to rally around this defense of sovereignty. We must
demand not only that Congress reassert its constitutional
responsibilities and authority by demanding the president obey the
letter of the law when it comes to war, whether against Iran or any
other nation, but also to place in check the anti-American activities
of one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington, D.C., the
American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee.

For decades AIPAC has operated in the shadows of American foreign
policy decision-making, exerting its influence on elected officials
away from the public scrutiny of the very constituents who elected
those officials to begin with. It is impossible to hold someone
accountable for actions that are kept secret, and as such AIPAC's
ability to secretly influence American foreign and national security
policies represents a flagrant insult and threat to the very essence
of American democracy. I am not advocating the dissolution of AIPAC.
However, I am demanding that AIPAC be treated as any other
representative of a foreign nation is treated. It should have to
register as an agent of a foreign power so that the totality of its
interactions with American officials can become a part of the public
record. We require this of all other nations, including our good
friends the British.

To state that AIPAC, and by extension Israel, is above the law in this
regard is to acknowledge the reality that American national
sovereignty no longer matters when it comes to the state of Israel. So
be it. But then we are, collectively, no better than those nations I
mocked prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 as "colonies" of the
United States. So if we are to continue to permit AIPAC to operate as
an undeclared agent of a foreign nation, and to influence American
foreign and national security policymaking at the expense of our
Constitution, then we should acknowledge our true status as nothing
more than a colony of Israel, pull down the Stars and Stripes and
raise the Star of David over our nation's capitol. While representing
the final act of submission, it would also be the first truly honest
act that occurred in Washington, D.C., in many years.

Scott Ritter has had an extensive and distinguished career in
government service. He is an intelligence specialist with a 12-year
career in the U.S. Marine Corps including assignments in the former
Soviet Union and the Middle East. Rising to the rank of Major, Ritter
spent several months of the Gulf War serving under General Norman
Schwarzkopf with US Central Command headquarters in Saudi Arabia,
where he played an instrumental role in formulating and implementing
combat operations targeting Iraqi mobile missile launchers which
threatened Israel.



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